Beautiful & Pointless
A Guide to Modern Poetry
David Orr
HarperCollins, $25.99, 224 pp.

For some years now David Orr has been a frequent commentator on poets and poetry for the New York Times Book Review. He is himself a poet, and this short, lively guidebook proposes to conduct the “general reader” about the landscape of contemporary poetry—what he refers to more than once as Poetryland. Orr inquires into what can be deemed “worthwhile” about spending time reading poetry rather than doing any one of a number of other things. Since, in our young century, poetry as an...

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About the Author

William H. Pritchard is the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English at Amherst College. He is the author of Shelf Life: Literary Essays and Reviews (University of Massachusetts Press) among others.